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February 19, 2024

Dinner With Henry 67: A Call To Arms

By Bruce Memblatt

"Shakespeare, I wonder what Clarissa meant when she said,' Is this ending, or is it just the beginning?' You know, right after the lion changed back into a cat and scampered out of her infamous door? It was most ominous, don't you think?"

"Most," Shakespeare said. Shakespeare stood beneath the stove yawning. It was the morning after the door incident and no one had slept because they were anxious about what would happen next with the door. Henry's wing shook all night, and even little Winifred tossed and turned, while her cat slept peacefully purring below her crib on his new bed.

Above Shakespeare, Andre poured water in the coffee pot and nervously tapped his toes.

Simpson sat in his office fidgeting and brooding.

"Is that all you have to say about the matter, Shakespeare, don't you have any thoughts concerning what Clarissa meant?" Andre said, pointing at Shakespeare.

"Nope she was pretty straight forward."

"But she wasn't specific," Andre said and half-yawned.

"Andre, she said it wasn't over, like she had to even say that evolution never ends. Of course it wasn't an ending. We're all worried because we don't know what's in store."

"Shakespeare, you know, you seem unusually rational and logical today, do you have a fever? Or could it be that you have evolved before our very eyes, because it seems you have bought this whole evolution thing hook, line and plunger?"

"Don't you mean sinker?"

Andre shook his head and said, "Huh?"

"Never mind," Shakespeare snapped as he pulled a pan out of the cabinet below the stove and handed it to Andre. "Well she was obviously right about the door, dummy."

Andre placed the pan on a burner and grinned, "Oh, so then, of course, she must be right about everything else from now on and forever."

In the rear of the kitchen, on the small window facing the back of the warehouse on the next street, a sparrow paced back and forth. Sincere smiled at the bird with a toothy grin and pulled a worm from her can.

Shakespeare kicked Andre in the leg, causing him to drop the eggs he was about to crack on the side of the frying pan, and in a neat moment of karma and irony, they fell on Shakespeare's head.

Andre laughed as he tried to relieve the pain in his leg, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, Shakespeare."

That was also the moment that Henry walked in. Seeing the broken eggs on Shakespeare's head he began to laugh too.

Then Shakespeare started to strut to the rear of the kitchen calling, "You two are so easily amused, what's next, a pie in my face?"

At the thought, Andre's eyes lit up and he began to march to the refrigerator to get the chocolate cream pie he baked the day before.

Henry grabbed Andre's shoulder and said, "That won't be necessary, Andre."

"Oh is that so, Henry and since when are you my boss, too?"

Shakespeare turned around and snapped, "He's the boss's son, don't you get it? It's all about nepotism. The hardworking man doesn't advance. It's all about who you know, like I always say, who butters your bread."

"Oh, not again," Simpson said, as he suddenly appeared in the kitchen perched in front of the refrigerator door.

"Oh no, not again is right," Andre said. He stopped walking inches in front of Simpson. "Can't you come in here like a normal person?"

Simpson cuffed his hands and looked at his nails and said, "No."

Then Henry said, "Enough, gentlemen, we have bigger fish to fry, we have that door to worry about!"

"Hmmmm, Shakespeare," Simpson said, "you may be onto something. Please stop telling everyone what to do, Henry, that is my job."

Henry's wing went limp.

Andre became flustered and cried, "But Henry is right this time! What about that door? What will happen to us all, now that the powers of the door have been unleashed?"

"It's okay; I'm going to handle it in my own way," Simpson said while he leaned against the refrigerator. "I'm going to destroy that door."

Andre's eyes suddenly crossed. "You're what?"

Henry stared at Simpson while Shakespeare stood frozen in his tracks. A hush came over the room.

Andre's eyes bulged like he was about to explode all over the kitchen into little pieces of Andre and he cried, "Have you lost your mind, Simpson? Do you even realize what she would do to you if she even heard you joke about such a thing? Why first off she would fire you immediately, that is, after she ate you like you were yesterday's stew! YOU MUST NOT EVEN THINK SUCH A THING!"

And Henry walked up to Simpson, looked him in the eye and said, "I'm afraid Andre is right this time, Simpson. Are you nuts?"

Even Shakespeare said, "Andre is right! Simpson, have you been drinking my booze?"

Simpson paced back and forth nervously in front of them and said, "You all have such small minds, only think of yourselves, only think of the little picture. Do you realize the damage that could be caused to all of us, to the world if she wins, if the door stays, and her process continues? Why, we would all become giants like her! There would be no room left in the world, no food, and then we would all starve and die off like the dinosaurs. Her way is not evolution but de-evolution, to a time when giant creatures roamed the earth. We must nip this in the bud and now!"

Henry's wing jutted up, his eyebrows rose, and he said, "I've had a change of heart -- Simpson is right."

"You betcha," Shakespeare snapped.

Then Andre sighed, "In the end, I must concur, which means either way we are all doomed. She will surely fire and eat us all, or the world will become our cemetery. We can not win. We can not win! THERE IS NO WAY OUT FOR US!"

Then Shakespeare looked up at Andre and murmured, "Courage."

And Simpson stared feverishly at Andre, Henry and Shakespeare and said, "Explosives. We must blast that damned tunnel to evolution to Kingdom Come." .

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-05-28
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